Life after retirement can be a time of unlimited possibility. With fewer commitments to others, we are finally free to explore the world and pursue our passions. At the same time, retiring can be confusing. Unfortunately, many of us have already lost our parents, making it difficult to know who to turn to for advice.
To help the women in our community who may just now be reaching this milestone, I asked the women in our Sixty and Me community what advice they would give for getting the most from life after retirement. Here are a few of the common threads that I took from their responses. Please join the conversation by adding your own ideas in the comments section at the end of this article.
Based on my conversations with other women, I’m convinced that part of the reason that people struggle to find meaning in life after retirement is that their lives are so cluttered with “stuff.” And, by “stuff,” I mean not only the physical possessions that we have accumulated, but, also acquaintances, social commitments and financial burdens.
Sometimes, in order to find the mental clarity to define and follow your passions, you need to declutter your life.
A few years ago, I started a process of downsizing my life. I moved into a smaller apartment, sorted through all of my possessions and reduced the “things” in my life dramatically. I also made a conscious effort to only spend time with people that made me happy. These seem like small changes, but, the impact on my life was dramatic. I feel lighter than I ever have before and I’m not alone – many women in the community have gone through similar transformations, with similar results.
When you downsize and prioritize, you free up mental space to focus on your passions. This is one of the keys to building your dream life after retirement. For more information on the power of downsizing in retirement, please check out my interview with Dr. Dale Atkins.
Another trait that many of the happiest women in our community have is that they love to learn. Many are taking online courses, or learning a new craft. Others are learning a new language so that they can get more from their travel experiences or perhaps communicate better with a bilingual grandchild.
So, if you want to get the most from life after retirement, learn to be a lifelong learner. Is there something that you have always wanted to do but have never had the time? Perhaps you have always been fascinated by French cooking. Or, maybe you want to give gentle yoga a shot? Now is your time!
As you explore your options, don’t be afraid of failure. In fact, in many ways, failure is a good thing. If you never fail, you aren’t learning.
Make a commitment to yourself to try new things. Who knows? Your true “life’s purpose” may be yet to be discovered!
Many women say that the number one thing preventing them from living their life to the full after 60 is their health. While some people really are dealing with heart-breaking illnesses, the majority of us have way more control over our bodies than we like to admit.
The happiest and most fulfilled women that I have met in the Sixty and Me community take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. They have told me that they use a variety of techniques to stay healthy. Some stick the basics and enjoy daily walks, fresh food and lots of water. Others try more exotic options such as practicing yoga, making green smoothies, or even running marathons.
No matter what your physical condition, your life can be significantly improved by making small changes in your lifestyle. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do. Your body is your greatest asset. Invest in it now and it will pay you happiness dividends for decades to come!
Obviously there is no “right” answer to the question of how to find meaning in life after retirement. “Meaning” is a personal concept that we can only define for ourselves. So, take the process of self-exploration seriously, but, also remember to have fun along the way.
Find things that you love to do for their own sake. Take walks in beautiful places, paint eclectic pictures, cook new and exotic foods, visit friends, dance in your living room and sing in the shower. This is your life and no-one can tell you how to live it. Now take a few deep breaths and be thankful for the gift of life. I personally feel so blessed to be here and I hope you do too!
What other advice would you give to someone who has just retired? What do you think are the secrets to living a happy life after retirement? Please add your thoughts in the comments section.